2015 Guber: Akwa Ibom community opposes zoning formula
The Akwa Ibom Community in Abuja has stoutly opposed zoning formula as a consideration in the choice of a governorship candidate in the 2015 election in the state.
The community conveyed its opposition in an exclusive interview with People’s Daily at the weekend saying zoning the governorship slot will undermine good governance and service delivery to the people of the state.
The Vice Chairman of the community, Comrade Tommy Okon who spoke on behalf of the community said the governorship election must be open to all aspirants to create a level playing field that will throw up the best candidate. This, he said, is in line with the usual tradition since 1992 when aspirants from the three senatorial districts in the state-Eket, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo participated in the governorship primaries without restrictions of zoning.
He said Akwa Ibom is not a tripod state consisting of Uyo, Eket and Ikot Ekpene alone, adding that if zoning is adopted, it will undermine the interest of other tribes in the three senatorial districts like the Oro and Eastern Obolo in Eket Senatorial district who have never had a shot each time emphasis is given to their senatorial district for the election of governor of the state.
“The Ibibio tribe, for example, are present in all the senatorial districts and zoning will mean that they will have an undue advantage, upper hand and supremacy in the power equation in the state,”he said.
He said in 2015, Akwa Ibom people should be allowed to vote candidates based on their conviction of track record of performance, competence and experience, arguing that if zoning is introduced in any of the political parties, it would deny the electorate the freedom to chose their leaders without undue interference.
He said for instance, that when the current governor Godswill Akpabio, an indigene of Ikot Ekpene, stood for the governorship primaries in 2007, other aspirants from the other senatorial districts ran with him without anybody making a case for zoning, and that there is no reason why it should be introduced now.
“In order for Akwa Ibom to continue to enjoy the existing peace and harmony which came about on account of the exceptional transformation efforts of the current government, we all must bury selfish interests and allow the best candidates to emerge rather than putting obstacles on the way of those who may have the capacity to sustain the progress already achieved, ” he said.
“We should allow the tradition of equity, justice and equal right instead of sectionalism to thrive in our bid to produce a candidate who has the pedigree and understands the system and who is committed to the development of the state. Such a candidate should be able to build on the legacies of Akpabio, the transformation whizkid.
“Advocates of zoning should not overheat the polity so that they do not distract the ongoing uncommon transformation efforts of the current government that is putting smiles on the faces of our people home and abroad,” he said.